According to a new study from two respected economists, Brian Jacob and Lars Lefgren, parents have very different views on what makes a good teacher, depending on their own social status. Parents with children enrolled in low-income schools think a teacher is doing a good job as long as their children appear to be learning. Wealthier parents take a more educationally complacent view. As long as their children appear happy, they assume the teacher is doing a good job.
The dissonant views come from a fusion of data based on parents request for particular teachers and principals' evaluations of teachers in 12 schools.
Also from the study: If a school is underperforming, the pattern doesn't hold up. Parents, wealthy or poor, then tend to request a more demanding teacher.
"In Low Income Schools, Parents Want Teachers Who Teach"
Brian Jacob and Lars Lefgren, <i>Education Next </i>, Summer 2007